The Corona Millionaire

When asked why crimes are committed, there is a banal answer. It’s mostly about money. Acts such as fraud, theft and robbery make up the majority of all crimes. More revealing is how these crimes are committed. Whether someone mugs people on the street or robs others of their savings. Or whether someone simply takes money where it seems to be available in infinite quantities.

Kemal C belongs in this group. He is a jittery forty-something in a black polo shirt and one of those people who sees opportunities for their business everywhere. If he weren’t in the dock for fraud, you’d have to say he’s an entrepreneur.

Because C. did what management guidebooks say: he saw the crisis as an opportunity. The crisis was the pandemic. His chance was that people had to be tested for Corona and test centers were needed for this. C. had the space for it, he owns several late-night shops in Berlin . He received the permits online from the health administration. He only had to fill in a few fields.

C. set up tables and chairs in his shops and procured test kits and gowns for the testers. People must have come in droves, at least when it comes to the sums that C. claimed from the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, which is used to bill for the corona tests. She transferred 9.6 million euros in ten months. Some of the money can no longer be found.

He burned the billing papers in the backyard

The question before the court is whether these tests were actually carried out or whether they only existed on paper, as prosecutors suspect.

Kemal C. says: Everything was fine. As he puts it, he had his “patients” fill out data sheets and billed them on this basis. He even paid attention to data protection. Because he wasn’t allowed to keep his patients’ forms for longer than two weeks, he burned them in the backyard as a precaution after the deadline.

A man who works in one of his stores says: There have been people who wanted to be tested, but not many. The snakes would have stood in front of the pharmacy next door. The police also noticed this when they stopped by for a check last year. C was arrested.

But is he also a criminal? His defense attorney says: Regardless of what the trial reveals, the state has failed here. Most test centers were approved without an examination, and the money for the tests was simply paid to random people. It’s like throwing money away on the street and then complaining when someone picks it up.

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